Friday, September 12, 2003

Philadelphia street food

Slightly inspired by yesterday's NYT article about street food in Singapore I found myself today sampling various delights from Philadelphia, where an absence of work and presence of my wife took me today. While in college, also in Philadelphia, I was a happy camper with the various food trucks around the city. After moving back to NYC I continued to miss the well-prepared cheap treats I used to get at Sophie's, Lee Ang's, not to mention the "Real Lee Ang" and the incomparable Koch's deli. The last one is not really street food, but hey, it is my blog and I will mention whom I want, where I want, as is my want.

I did not get a cheesesteak today which was ok, since I had it on my last visit. I did get hot dogs, marginally better than what I usually end up with in NYC, and an egg-and-cheese on a roll. For some reason I cannot get this incredibly simple dish in NYC. I have tried, but while some are quite good it is just never the same. Perhaps it is the wax paper and the foil, or the strange water Philly has. Maybe it is the fact that vendors seem to actually be glad to serve you, rather than eagerly sizing you up to see if a $2.50 hot dog is affordable for a shaggy guy in a t-shirt, shorts, and amazingly dirty sneakers. Perhaps it is the fact that Philadelphia really seems to be a city that likes food. Greasy, huge-portioned, well-intentioned, and thoroughly unhealthy food more than New York. I do not care, really. I just wanted to enjoy the moment, and I almost succeeded.

Needless to say any such snacking always brings back memories, primarily of eating similar foods at various locales and times of day. That was the partial success mentioned above. The failure to continue the trip down the gastronomical memory lane was not altogether unpleasant. A university classmate called to interrupt my revere with a job proposition. We will see whether it works out or not, but I definitely should have lunch in Philly more often.


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